Mimesis Law
11 December 2017

Cop’s Attorney Says Philando Castile Killed Himself By Smoking Pot

December 19, 2016 (fault Lines) — If you believe the attorneys for Officer Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony, Minnesota Police Officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, then being stoned is negligence and if you get killed because you didn’t follow instructions properly, it’s your own fault. The attorneys are asking for charges against the officer to be dismissed.

It’s bad enough that this officer was only charged with manslaughter. What makes it worse is that even if rejected by a judge, the ludicrous claims in the memorandum in support of a Florence hearing and motion to dismiss might make it to the jury as items they can consider during deliberations.

A Florence hearing is based on the Minnesota case of State v. Florence. It’s a rare type of probable cause hearing using live testimony by the defendant or witnesses on behalf of the defendant that would exonerate him. The judge presiding over the hearing would have to render a decision based on “substantial evidence that would be admissible at trial.” What Yanez’s attorneys are asking of the court is essentially that, “even if there was probable cause to arrest the officer, let’s take another look and make sure it’s fair to bind him over for trial.”

The defense is basing its memo on a 1979 case, State v. Crace, where two hunters got drunk while hunting and one shot the other thinking he was a bear. In that case, it was found that the victim’s negligence is relevant on questions of whether the defendant is negligent, and if so, is the victim’s negligence the proximate cause of death.

The bear hunting situation from the aforementioned case is a far cry from the circumstances of the killing of Castile. The memorandum lists a series of alleged deceptions on Castile’s part in the vein of being a pot user and purchasing a firearm which is illegal, and that he was a chronic user who had been issued several “marijuana in vehicle” tickets, had marijuana in the vehicle at the time of his death, had high levels of THC in his blood, was stoned and incorrectly responded to the officer’s commands, resulting in his death.

From the defense standpoint, he practically shot himself, and the cop is just a victim trying to do his job:

An objective review of the squad video (Our Exhibit 7) confirms officer Yanez’s description of why he acted in self-defense and the defense of others, but more importantly why Mr. Castile himself was culpably negligent and was the substantial cause of his own demise. He should not have been driving while under the influence. He should have showed his hands. He should not have reached for the handgun, the same handgun found at the scene, the handgun officer Yanez described.

In any other state, the items described here by the defense would be up to the jury to decide if they were fact or not, but in Minnesota, perhaps, they do things differently.

The judge reading this memorandum need not read any further than the ill-advised citation of a case involving two drunken bear hunters; it’s not the same thing by a long shot. Here, the defense is saying that a victim’s alleged self-imposed impairment should absolve the officer from responsibility for killing a man. If that is allowed to stand, then anyone in Minnesota who has a few drinks, smokes some weed or is otherwise intoxicated, is subject to being gunned down by the police, and instantly if they mention they have a firearm.

Hopefully this motion will be denied, or that the result of a hearing if granted will be a trial for this officer.

But funny stuff happens in court all then time.

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